We’ve more World Tag League action as the race to make next month’s finals continues in Fukushima.
Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma pinned Yota Tsuji & Yuji Nagata in 9:19 (**¾)
World Tag League 2020 – Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens pinned David Finlay & Juice Robinson in 9:03 (**½)
World Tag League 2020 – Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi pinned Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL in 13:03 (***¼)
World Tag League 2020 – Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii pinned Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga in 12:10 (***¼)
World Tag League 2020 – Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi pinned Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb in 14:50 (***¾)
World Tag League 2020 – SANADA & Shingo Takagi submitted YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto in 17L20 (***½)
We’ve gone to the Big Palette Fukushima for this round, as the tag teams return…
Yuji Nagata & Yota Tsuji vs. Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma
Will today be the day that Honma gets the pin?
Tsuji and Honma start us off, as the obligatory lock-up turned to arm wringers before they headed to ground. They get back up, but Tsuji just knocks them down again, as shoulder tackles took down Honma and Kojima, before Honma landed one of his own. In comes Kojima to wear down Tsuji, which prompted Nagata to run in to break it up.
Honma’s back to choke Tsuji in the corner with his boots, following up with a slam and a half crab as he went a different route to usual… except Nagata runs in to break it up. Tsuji tries to fight back, but he’s chopped back down as Kojima returned to help whip Tsuji into the corner… but Tsuji breaks free and takes down Honma.
They reset with back-and-forth strikes, but Tsuji’s slam gets him free to tag in Nagata, who lights up Kojima with kicks… then gave some of the same to Honma. An Exploder flings Honma out of the corner before the Nagata Lock 2 was broken up by Kojima – allowing Honma time to recover as they go in with back-and-forth elbows until an elbow knocked down Nagata for a Kokeshi that missed.
Palm strikes knock both men down as we get back to Kojima and Tsuji… Tsuji misses a charge in the corner and pays for it with Machine Gun chops… with the leaping forearm following, before Tsuji cut off Kojima before he could head up top. A suplex drops Kojima for a two-count, with another Exploder from Nagata and a splash from Tsuji almost getting the upset.
Kojima pops up with elbows and a Koji cutter, before a spear from Tsuji looked to give him some hope ahead of a Boston crab, but Kojima easily gets to the ropes. A second spear’s caught and turned into a DDT, before Kojima knocks Nagata off the apron, following up with a lariat that spun Tsuji to the mat for the pin. A perfectly fine tag match, but if you’ve been watching the entire tour, you’ll know how these are going. One day we’ll hear Honma’s music on this tour… **¾
World Tag League 2020 – Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Fin-Juice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson)
This time, Juice didn’t forget to take off his sunglasses…
That should have been the sign of an impending jump start, as Owens and Finlay went outside, while Fale stayed behind to whip Juice into the corner. A splash is side-stepped, with Juice quickly responding with Dusty punches, before he got caught in the gut by a wild shot from Fale. Finlay’s in to help dropkick Fale into the corner… which leads to Owens tagging in and running into a hiptoss as last year’s winners were pushing on.
The double-teams continue with a diving uppercut from Finlay getting a pin attempt on Chase, before Juice slammed Finlay onto Chase, with a back senton following for a two-count. A double-team facebuster is next as Chase’s arm was worked on with double axehandles off the top, before Fale came into play, taking Juice outside and into the railings.
Fale then throws away one of the plastic screens that the commentary team had for their covid protection protocols… just for the fun of it. The Bullet Club took over by standing on Juice’s back, then followed up with forearms to the kidneys while Chase was doing up his bandana.
Owens comes in to keep on top of Juice with a front facelock, but Juice fights free with a chinbreaker, before a missed leg lariat almost got him to a tag. Fale’s in… but ends up taking a superkick from Chase as Finlay tagged in to clear house, again hitting an uppercut to Owens before taking him outside. Another double sledge waits inside as Finlay went back to the uppercuts… but frequent tags disrupted Fin-Juice’s momentum, as Owens found a way back in, knocking Juice outside and into the railings with a dropkick through the ropes.
Fale tags back in to help with double-teams, almost beating Finlay with a clothesline, before Juice had to wriggle out of a package piledriver attempt. He couldn’t avoid Fale’s Grenade though, which left Finlay open as a second Grenade was attempted, ending up as a Grenade-assisted German suplex which proved to be enough to get the Bullet Club duo finally on the board. This was a little too slow for my tastes, but at least Owens and Fale did something new – and it finally worked, so there’s that, as last year’s winners have slipped to a worrying number of losses for this stage of the tour. **½
World Tag League 2020 – Bullet Club (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare
Someone needs to oil the hinge on that door at the start of EVIL’s theme… it’s getting worse. Yep, it’s the second of three straight Bullet Club matches on this show, and I guess the shenanigans start here?
Tanahashi and EVIL start us off, but the switcharound sees Yujiro attack from behind as Tanahashi’s forced to make his own luck with a headlock takedown and headscissors to end the double-teaming. EVIL quickly takes him into the corner, but a springboard crossbody from Tanahashi offered resistance as Henare tagged in, leading to an elbow drop and a falling chop before the double-team Boston crab was applied.
An eye rake from EVIL takes Henare down, before he’s whipped into a conveniently-exposed corner. Tanahashi runs in, but also gets the exposed corner as we end up on the outside, with some interference from Dick Togo as he and Yujiro put the boots to Henare. Wait, where’s the timekeeper…
EVIL whips Tanahashi into the guard rails, then returned to the ring so he could throw Henare right back outside again, where Dick Togo was waiting with a right hand. Henare’s thrown back inside so EVIL could get a two-count, while Yujiro tagged in to keep the momentum up. That exposed corner comes into play again, while EVIL raked Henare’s face behind the ref’s back. Then we go old school with our cheating as Yujiro *and* Dick Togo help on an abdominal stretch. I appreciate them digging into the past for a vaguely “what’s old is new” trick. EVIL looks smug at that, but had to fight off chops from Henare… by throwing him into the exposed corner before the Kiwi reversed a suplex attempt.
Finally Tanahashi tagged in, and looked to clear house… he baseball slides into Togo, then took down EVIL for a back senton as the Ace built momentum. A slam and a flip senton followed for a two-count, but he’s sent outside as he went for a Slingblade. Tanahashi tries to skin the cat, but Togo goes for the tear ‘n’ share knees with a Dragon screw, with EVIL following up with a Scorpion deathlock back inside, before Henare dove in to break it up.
Henare’s sent outside, where he trips EVIL as some double-teaming came to nought, with a Twist and Shout on Yujiro buying Tanahashi time. Henare tags in next, charging down Yujiro with a leaping shoulder tackle before a Samoan drop almost ended things. The rugby tackle follows, but Yujiro holds on and sweeps the leg… but can’t follow up as an elbow and a rear spin kick from Henare took him down.
Togo grabs the leg as Milano Collection AT growled in disapproval on commentary – that blocks the rugby tackle as the Bullet Club turned it back around. Yujiro drops Henare with an Incolle slam, before he went for his pimp cane while Togo had the ref. One cane shot later, and Henare’s left prone for the Pimp Juice… but Tnaahashi comes in to go nuts with Dragon screws for everyone, even Togo, before a Slingblade/leg sweep combo leaves Yujiro down.
From there, we finally get the rugby tackle as a Toa Bottom finally gets Henar-Ace their first win! The closing stretch made this for me, with Henare getting some rewards for once. ***¼
World Tag League 2020 – Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano
So Yano’s now a star on LINE, he has his own cookbook, he sells curries, DVDs, t-shirts, towels… and plenty more I’m probably missing.
Yano and Tanga Loa start us off, with shoulder tackles that do little as Tanga was mockingly clapping. So Yano just rakes the eyes before he got barged down. Yano hooks the ropes and bops Tanga on the head, then goes for the turnbuckle pad as Tomohiro Ishii ran in to neutralise Tama Tonga’s run-in.
Jado distracts, which allows them to take Yano outside and into the railings, while Ishii got similar treatment. Back inside, Tanga gets an easy two-count on Yano, before Tama tagged in to hit a senton atomico. Loa hits one too, before Tama just sat on Yano for another two-count.
A double-team suplex throws Yano across the ring for another two-count, before Tanga beats on Yano in the corner. He stops to knock Ishii off the apron, which will eventually backfire, as Jado then held Yano in the corner for some forearms from Tama on the apron. An Irish whip aimed at the exposed corner is blocked as Yano pulls Tanga’s hair, dragging him to the mat, before both men tagged out.
In runs Ishii, but he too is taken into the exposed corner as the Guerrillas looked to double-team… but he pulls Tama into harm’s way as the former tag champions proved to be their own worst enemies. A shoulder tackle barges down Tanga, while a drop toe hold has Tama down ahead of a suplex.
Ishii hits the ropes but misdirection gets Tama back in with a forearm before Tanga charged him into the corner. A Stinger splash from Tama and a Tongan Twist has Ishii down for a two-count. Tanga rolls together a suplex and a Blue Thunder bomb for a near-fall, before Ishii fought back in with a backdrop suplex.
Yano tags back in, but he misses a charge into the exposed corner… he recovers with Manhattan drops to the Guerrillas, before coming close with roll-ups and backslides. Tanga stops him with a lariat as the Guerrillas go back to the double-teaming, leading to a leaping neckbreaker from Tama for a two-count, before a Magic Killer attempt is broken up by Ishii.
Tama tries to take down Ishii, but a Gun Stun is blocked… only for the Magic Killer to take down the Stone Pitbull. Yano blocks a second Magic Killer, shoving Tama into Tanga, but his low blows were telegraphed, as he ends up taking an assisted Tongan Twist for a near-fall. Jado throws n the Kendo stick but Tama’s aim is off as he hits his own man, allowing Yano to hit a low blow and a roll-up for the win. Your mileage may vary, but this was a pretty good tag match given the shenanigans – but I’d be surprised if the overall winner came from this match. ***¼
Post-match, Tanga Loa threw a fit… and broke Yano’s KOPW trophy. Both he and Yano were in pieces…
World Tag League 2020 – The Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.)
Some have this match keyed as a potential title match down the line… let’s see.
Taichi has a response to Taichi’s singing. The Mongolian chop. Yep, we’ve a jump start, as all four men end up on the outside, with Sabre being beaten on by Cobb while O-Khan took Taichi into the guard rails. Back inside, Sabre traps Cobb in an Octopus hold, but Cobb powers out, only to get caught in a guillotine that’s broken as Cobb took Sabre into the buckles.
Zack leaps in for another guillotine, but that’s tossed into a suplex as O-Khan runs in to knock Taichi off the apron, as he then dropped Sabre with a gutwrench facebuster. Some boot choking has Sabre in the corner, before Taichi ran in to rake O-Khan’s face… he’s quickly knocked down though.
Cobb tags in to put the boots to Sabre, before O-Khan just sat on Sabre in the corner, throwing in a double armbar for the hell of it. Another tag brings back Cobb, who just decks Sabre with an elbow before bouncing him out of the corner with an Irish whip for a two-count. O-Khan’s slam leaves Sabre in the middle of the ring, as the Empire were clearly isolating the Suzuki-gun pair from each other.
A free shot sees Zack hit some uppercuts as O-Khan looked on dismissively… that riles Sabre, who gets a Mongolian, erm, shove, before he finally recovered with a tornado DDT out of the corner. Finally Taichi tags in, but he’s knocked back by Cobb as he went for the endless choking. An Axe Bomber’s shrugged off by Cobb, who charges Taichi down, before Taichi recovered with a Dangerous backdrop driver.
Off come the trousers, but Taichi misses a superkick… and ends up taking Cobb’s Spin Cycle. O-Khan’s back in with some knees and Mongolian chops to leave Taichi in a heap, before he got caught with an Axe bomber. Sabre returns, but he gets thrown around with gutwrench suplexes for a near-fall, then got taken into the corner as a Mongolian chop put him in a Tree of Woe… only for Taichi to cut off a baseball slide dropkick.
Taichi frees his tag partner, then held O-Khan for a PK from Sabre for a near-fall. Cobb tries for a Tour if the Islands, but Sabre counters out before an attempted Zack Driver was stopped as Sabre’s back gave out. From there, Cobb muscles up Sabre for a suplex, before Sabre countered O-Khan’s Eliminator into a triangle armbar.
O-Khan gets free as he passes Sabre into Cobb, but that too is countered as Cobb’s pushed into Taichi. Still looking for an Eliminator, O-Khan puts the claw on Taichi… who counters back with a choke. Sabre nicks in with an overhead kick to the arm as O-Khan’s quickly taken into Zack Mephisto, and that’s it! I wouldn’t mind seeing a rematch of this – Taichi and O-Khan had a spark together, and with greater focus and stakes, this could be quite the banger of a match. ***¾
World Tag League 2020 – Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Shingo Takagi)
A win for LIJ puts them clear at the top of the league – a win for Goto/YOSHI-HASHI means we’ll go back to a seven-way tie at the top.
Shingo and Goto start – as there seemed to be some tease of a future NEVER title shot down the line… a side headlock from Goto is countered as Shingo grabs the hair, before we burst into shoulder tackles that sent both men into the ropes as Goto won out. YOSHI-HASHI tags in to help with a double-team shoulder tackle before he’s hiptossed onto Shingo, as the pair then went back-and-forth with elbows until YOSHI-HASHI got kicked in the ropes.
Goto kicks Shingo in the ropes to make them even, but Shingo returns the earlier favour, knocking YOSHI-HASHI down, then hiptossing Goto onto him before a brief trip outside put LIJ on top. SANADA tags in as YOSHI-HASHI ends up taking a low dropkick for a two-count, before Shingo returned with a double sledge to YOSHI-HASHI’s arm. Yep, the tape on the arm and shoulder has definitely made a comeback!
YOSHI-HASHI gets charged down by Shingo, then is thrown into SANADA’s knee as a tag brought him back in. More knees have YOSHI-HASHI in the corner, where he tries to fight back with chops, only for SANADA to go back to the shoulder before he tripped YOSHI-HASHI in for a Paradise Lock. A suplex attempt gets blocked by YOSHI-HASHI, who eventually came back in with a Head Hunter as Goto tagged in to try and build fresh momentum. A spinning heel kick into the corner, then a bulldog out of it drops Shingo for a two-count, but Shingo’s back as he and Goto trade strikes, leading to the Shingo combination and a DDT.
SANADA’s back with a dropkick-assisted back suplex on Goto for a near-fall, but a backflip out of the corner misses as Goto pulls him into a neckbreaker. YOSHI-HASHI returns with chops before some headscissors and a rear spin kick left SANADA open for an assisted ushigoroshi. Some double knees from YOSHI-HASHI get a near-fall, before a double-team neckbreaker left Shingo down.
YOSHI-HASHI and Goto look to finish off SANADA with a GYR, but that gets a near-fall as I get confused over the acronymised finishers Goto has. Shingo returns for a flurry of lariats, which SANADA ends as he hits a springboard dropkick to YOSHI-HASHI, as LIJ again targeted the taped-up one. A Magic Screw from SANADA drops YOSHI-HASHI for a two-count, before a backbreaker led to a moonsault… but SANADA Lands on his feet as YOSHI-HASHI rolled away.
A Dragon sleeper from SANADA’s broken up as Goto and YOSHI-HASHI looked for a GYW… but Shingo comes in to break it up and clothesline Goto to the outside. YOSHI-HASHI fires up and superkicks Shingo, but couldn’t avoid a Pumping Bomber as SANADA then went in with a TKO for a near-fall. From there, YOSHI-HASHI nearly nicks it with some roll-ups, including a schoolboy off the ropes as Goto and Shingo scrapped on the outside, but in the end SANADA backflips and stumbled in for a Skull End, swinging YOSHI-HASHI around before the eventual submission. Good, but not great, as bigger emphasis seemed to be put on Shingo/Goto down the line than anything else. ***½
World Tag League 2020
SANADA & Shingo Takagi (4-1; 8pts)
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi; Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb; Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa; Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (3-2; 6pts)
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Juice Robinson & David Finlay (2-3; 4pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-4; 2pts)
Best of the Super Junior 27
Taiji Ishimori, SHO, Hiromu Takahashi, Master Wato (3-1; 6pts)
BUSHI, El Desperado, Robbie Eagles, Ryusuke Taguchi (2-2; 4pts)
DOUKI, Yuya Uemura (0-4; 0pts)
Remember, it’s the top two in each league who go into the finals, so we’ll likely be looking at next week’s shows before names start to fall out of contention.
This latest leg of the tour wraps up tomorrow in Niigata with another Best of the Super Junior show, as El Desperado looks to make amends for his loss to Master Wato as he takes on SHO in the main event.
It was business as usual for the World Tag League show today, with solid-but-not-bad, good-but-not-great up and down the card. Go out of your way to see that Empire/Suzuki-gun tag, as I have a feeling it’s going to be the start of something fairly long-running…